If you are looking for a way to manage and monitor your IoT devices outside the Azure Portal or are not able to build your own IoT platform, IoT Central is the place to be. And you can extend this portal with custom Azure resources using the export functionality.
All you need is to have browser access to Azure IoT Central. You can even run it for free for seven days to test it out. Also, the first two devices registered are free too.
Once you have worked with Azure IoT central, you have mastered it using the portal. If you want to scale up eg. the number of devices or users, automation of your tasks becomes necessary.
During the last The Thing Conference back in January in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, I spoke with the team of Tektelic. I got this smart room sensor from them to experiment with:
This sensor works with Lora and has some neat features. The sensor reads eg. temperature and humidity of the room it is placed in, but it also has a few other sensors. One of these is a magnetic switch.
It’s this sensor I am interested in. I want to see if a door is left open (and maybe putting a big, loud horn next to it…):
A few years ago I blogged about my open source project which makes it possible to connect The Things Network LoraWan cloud to Azure. It runs as a Webjob and provides a stateful bi-directional communication channel so devices from the third party (TTN) cloud are automatically registered in your IoTHub, can communicate their messages to the Azure cloud and they can receive commands back.
Recently Microsoft announced their generic bridge between third party IoT clouds for IoT Central. It is called: IoT Central Device Bridge.
Basically, it supports all cloud services which are able to send device telemetry to a REST endpoint.
In the past, it was already possible to add a location to your IoT Central devices. And these locations were shown on a map. But these locations were fixed, part of the device template properties. So it was only present in the metadata.
But now we can pass a location in the telemetry which is produced by your device.
Let’s see how it’s done and how the location is integrated into the various IoT Central dashboards.
We use IoT Central a lot for demonstration purposes. It provides an IoT Dashboard for your IoT devices on a SaaS level. It brings speed into the projects and we can have good discussions about usability with customers.
Recently, I had to add some buttons in IoT Central to manipulate an IoT Edge device. At this moment, IoT Central is not supporting IoT Edge devices but it can be done with a simple trick. So displaying information is not that hard. But sending module twin changes back to the IoT edge is not simply done.
In this blog, I show how to program IoT Edge module twin updates using c#. I use Azure Functions to make this code reachable from other sources like IoT Central.
Once you start collecting data in an IoT solution, you will need some kind of dashboard to represent the raw or aggregated data.
IoT projects typically start as a POC to validate IoT scenarios. When the POC success, a pilot project is started to check scalability, monitoring, maintainability, etc.
Microsoft provides multiple solutions for these various scenarios. The most lightweight solution is IoT Central.
“Experience the simplicity of SaaS for IoT (Internet of Things), with no cloud expertise required—Azure IoT Central is a fully managed global IoT SaaS (software-as-a-service) solution that makes it easy to connect, monitor, and manage your IoT assets at scale. Bring your connected products to market faster while staying focused on your customers.”
You can start with a 7-day trial or with pay-as-you-go. This last option is free if you limit yourself to 5 actual or simulated devices.